#Hun Sen’s 30 year rule over Cambodia has been consistently hampered by accusations of human rights abuses and corruption from journalists, prompting his sympathy for Trump’s anti-media sentiment to be of little surprise to political commentators and journalists.
“#Donald Trump understands that they are an anarchic group,” Hun Sen said of journalists and media outlets earlier this week, before later posting the comments to his Facebook page.
Tension has been growing within Cambodia in recent months - with Hun Sen’s principal opponent, a former Khmer Rouge guerrilla, making accusations of unfair conduct in Sen’s attempt to maintain power through local elections in June, and the upcoming general election next year..
Hun Sen warned that an opposition victory could lead to a return to civil war. Last week, the US embassy expressed grave concern pertaining to legislation introduced by Hun Sen’s party that would make it extremely easy for the Government to dissolve opposing political parties.
Trump’s authoritarian allies
In Trump’s short reign he has garnered the support of some questionable international regimes, with Hun Sen’s recent remarks placing the Cambodian leader alongside the numerous authoritarian despots who have sung the praises of Donald Trump.
Hun Sen's endorsement of Trump ranks him alongside Russian president Vladimir Putin, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - all of whom have garnered horrendous human rights accusations, and expressed positive sentiment for the Trump administration.
Many have expressed concerns that Trump’s admirers may be a negative omen for the governing style that the new president may seek to impose.
Trump’s war on the media
Since the start of Trump’s presidential campaign, he has repeatedly attacked and admonished journalists, accusing many major media outlets of producing ‘fake news’, and running propagandist smear campaigns against him.
This rhetoric has been capitalized upon by numerous authoritarian regimes around the world, who have opportunistically sought to condemn all critical reporting of their activities as being ‘fake news’, and issuing threats to journalists.